Former PNGA and WSGA Player of the Year Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash. shot rounds of 70-68 to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds at the 25th Sahalee Players Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.
With the elite field of 64 of the best amateur players from around the world playing 36 holes in the opening day of the 72-hole championship, Highsmith poured in 11 birdies on the day, and holds a two-shot lead over Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills, Calif., who had shot rounds of 72-68.
“I kind of got off to a slow start,” Highsmith said. “But I was putting really well all day. I made some good par saves early in the first nine of this morning’s round, and that settled me down. I didn’t do anything really stupid the rest of the day. The greens were very hard, and you couldn’t really go at any of the pins, just playing for the fat part of the greens instead.”
Highsmith just finished his freshman year at Pepperdine University, where he earned the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year honors and was named to the All-WCC First Team. He won the 2017 Washington State Amateur, the youngest player to do so, and is a two-time WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year and also was named the 2017 PNGA Junior Boys Player of the Year.
Theegala is looking for a second title in this championship, having won in 2017. He just finished his senior year at Pepperdine, and will be paired with teammate Highsmith in today’s third round.
Chris Crisologo of Richmond, B.C. was the only other player in the field in the red for the day, firing rounds of 70-71. Crisologo is a member of the Canadian National Team, and in 2018 was named the PNGA Player of the Year after winning the BC Amateur and South American Amateur.
The third round of the championship resumes Tuesday morning at 11:00am, with the final round being held Wednesday with tee times starting at 8:00am.
The Sahalee Players Championship is free and open to the public, with free parking in the main clubhouse parking lot. For more information, contact Josh Kerns@golftalkseattle.com or 206-920-1482.